As the History Team prepares to bring out William Colenso’s magnificent printing press for the forthcoming exhibition Oceania – Early Encounters (opening 6 August 2011), I am reminded that the Hawke’s Bay Museum & Art Gallery are planning ‘to celebrate the life and ideas of Colenso – one of the fathers of New Zealand – on the bicentenary of his birth’ from 9 to 13 November 2011.
The event programme will be centred around an academic conference. Here is their call for expressions of interest and papers:
“A printer and missionary, explorer and botanist, an MP and author – William Colenso was a maverick.
“Controversial, opinionated, insightful and passionate, he had a keen appreciation of what it was to be an inhabitant of these shores in its earliest incarnation as a world of Maori and Pakeha. It is only today that we can see William Colenso in the round: a talented polymath, at home crossing the Ruahines, providing Kew Gardens with knowledge of New Zealand plants, or writing and printing the only published eyewitness account of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.
“The aim of the Bicentenary is to explore the breadth of Colenso’s life and ideas, so there are many ways to be involved whether your interest lies in botany, theology, New Zealand history, education or politics.